On January 24 at 8.55p.m, a major earthquake of moment magnitude M-w = 6.8 struck the Sivrice district of Elazig, located in the southwest of the Eastern Anatolia region of Turkey. A total of 7429 buildings were severely damaged or collapsed. Unreinforced masonry buildings still represent a significant part of the residential building stock in rural surroundings of the Eastern Anatolia region. Unfortunately, most of the masonry buildings near to epicenter were found to have collapsed or suffered severe damage. This study provides an evolution of seismological characteristics of the earthquake, including recorded accelerograms and acceleration response spectra. Case studies of damaged masonry buildings and failure or collapse mechanisms are also examined. It is concluded that almost all the damaged buildings had not been designed or constructed in accordance with contemporary Turkish earthquake codes.